Wednesday, April 2, 2014


A month ago tomorrow I turned 25 years old. Aaron made me a homemade dinner of tortellini (filled with homemade ricotta) and a homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, which I insisted on decorating (tall candles! flaky gray salt rim!). 

My birthday was right in the middle of a really not fun grad school time at the end of a really long horrible winter, so minus Aaron's awesome dinner celebrations, it kind of sucked. The good thing about birthdays, though, is that I can try again next year. Surprise laser tag dance party, I'm making it happen.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

kitchen revelations

Surprise! I'm blogging twice in one month!

Last time Aaron and I took a trip to Penzey's we made a new discovery: smoked paprika. Normal paprika is beautiful but also kind of bland, but smoked paprika. SO WONDERFUL. I want to put it on everything. We did a jazzed up version of our chicken tikka masala (which has almost entirely diverged from what chicken tikka masala is supposed to taste like as we found out when we ordered it at India Palace on our anniversary) with smoked paprika and bell peppers and mmmmm it was fantastic. Chili + smoked paprika? Anything Mexican with smoked paprika? Macaroni and cheese with smoked paprika? Tried them all, they're all glorious.

I finally got around to making sweet potato burritos with red onion, peppers, black beans, cilantro, lime, and smoked paprika of course, and it was so good. I would eat that sweet potato burrito over a chicken or beef burrito any day. Not that that's saying much since I sort of hate cooking meat anyway, but...still, delicious burritos.

Another cooking-related thing I wanted to share: a magical way of storing cilantro. I'd seen this tip online forever ago, but like most online tips I see (mountain dew + peroxide = fluorescent? NO.), I ignored it. Anyway, you wrap your cilantro in a damp paper towel and store it in an open ziplock. I may have just had a freakishly healthy bunch of cilantro, but it stayed fresh for over a week. Normally my cilantro lasts maybe 4 days. A miracle! I'm going to have to repeat this experiment to make sure the results are reproducible, but I was pretty happy not having to throw away half a bunch of wilted nasty cilantro for once in my life.

LAST THING. I finally made crème brûlée using the broiler. It's a chocolate version and it was divine. Amen.

You have any kitchen discoveries you want to share? Or any recipes I should be making? I need something to get me through the last bit of this awful, awful winter, and there's only so much crème brûlée I should be eating.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

so this is the new year

Oh hey, it's February, and I'm just now finishing off discussing Christmas break. Oh well!

After Christmas we headed to a warmer clime to stay with Aaron's family for New Year's. We had a blast hanging out with everyone and playing with our nieces. We listened/watched on Youtube "Let it Go" from Frozen about eight times a day because of them (and you know what, I still really like that song. I listen to it in the lab when no one's around, ha.).

While we were there, we went to a really good Japanese restaurant. I tried sushi for the first time in my life. It did not go especially well. Sushi is a food I really wish I liked, because it would make me feel cultured, but I mentally can't get over the raw fish thing. The thought of raw fish and the texture of raw fish gross me out too much. Side note related to Asian food: before we moved to the East Coast I didn't realize that eating with chopsticks was a normal skill most people have. Or at least everyone in grad school seems to have, regardless of nationality. I've been practicing so I don't look like an idiot every time the lab goes out for Chinese.

On New Year's Eve we went on a short hike doing the Emerald Pools in Zion. They were all partially frozen over, which looked awesome. Then we went home and had a wild party where we worked on a 2,000 piece puzzle. WOO! (That was not even sarcastic, we really do like doing puzzles.)

Every time we fly home I expect it to be easier to come back to Philly, but you know what, it never is. I don't know that I will ever get used to living across the country from all of our immediate family. I guess in a way it's a good thing because it means they must be pretty awesome people.

Maybe someday we'll end up west of the Mississippi, right Aaron....?

Hope you all enjoyed your winter vacations!

Friday, December 27, 2013

so this is christmas

Aaron and I get a long Christmas break this year, and we took full advantage of that. My sister got home from her mission, so we got to Utah early enough to be there when she got to the airport.

Some of us were more excited than others that she's home.

 We ice skated.

 I cut off a lot of hair.

 We lasertagged. (I got 2nd place both games. YEAH.)

We took a snowy family photo and printed it out with the Andrus family motto and gave it to my dad for Christmas. Want to know the irreverent family motto?
"The Andrus Family: None better, damn few equal." 

Merry Christmas!

now that it's past christmas, here's a post about thanksgiving!

Aaron and I lovvvve Thanksgiving. Getting up and doing nothing but cooking all day is actually a blast for us. This year, we had our friends the Hubers from church and Teresa from lab over for dinner. We did the turkey, stuffing, gravy, salad and banana cream pie, while our friends provided mashed potatoes, rolls, vegetable sides, and more pies. Four pies for five people wasn't too bad of a ratio. Mmmm. 

After all the feasting it seemed appropriate to do the P90X ab work out, so that's what we did.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

amazon's screw up was our amusement

We had a mysterious package delivered to the lab on Monday. One of my labmates was expecting a stir plate to arrive and had been told by Amazon it would get there that day. Imagine our surprise when we opened it and found instead...

over a thousand pregnancy tests.


We haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

kellie and laura take over philly

A couple of weekends ago my former roommates and wonderful friends came to visit Philly. We hit all the highlights- the historic, the artsy, the creepy, and the delicious (which is not pictured: gelato + Reading Terminal Market). 

 Historic Independence Hall!

 Historic Ben Franklin's Grave!

 Creepy Eastern State Penitentiary!

 Artsy Rodin Museum!

Roof deck view of the city partially obscured by our neighbor's stupid umbrella that I hope he takes down for the winter!

It was so nice to hang out with old friends for the weekend and play tourist. Thanks for visiting, ladies! Come back soon!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

some words i found online that i liked

"We are the girls with anxiety disorders, filled appointment books, five-year plans. We take ourselves very, very seriously. We are the peacemakers, the do-gooders, the givers, the savers. We are on time, overly prepared, well read, and witty, intellectually curious, always moving… We pride ourselves on getting as little sleep as possible and thrive on self-deprivation. We drink coffee, a lot of it. We are on birth control, Prozac, and multivitamins… We are relentless, judgmental with ourselves, and forgiving to others. We never want to be as passive-aggressive as our mothers, never want to marry men as uninspired as our fathers… We are the daughters of the feminists who said, 'You can be anything,' and we heard, 'You have to be everything.'"


That last line, man. I like it.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

- Kahlil Gibran, snippet of "On Children"

(I can't remember where I found this, but I feel like it was a great blog post somewhere.)